Tips To Win

A few days ago, Mark Overmars posted an article on his personal blog giving tips to win the current YoYo Games competition.

In short, the tips can be summarized to:

– Make it fun
– Provide clear and to the point instructions/help
– Reduce file size and loading times to a minimum
– Avoid posting beta releases of the game
– Provide several screenshots
– Provide a short but informative description
– Choose a good title and keywords
– Market/advertise your game outside YYG/GMC

You can read a more in depth explanation from Mark here. Keep in mind while these tips were designed to help you win the competition, they are good tips to follow in general to improve your game ratings.

GM Competition Update

In the PR flap following the release of Game Maker 7, several independent projects were started as Game Maker replacements. Despite a considerable amount of skepticism, some of them have made noticeable progress. Here’s a report on their status.

G-Creator

The current incarnation of the abandoned G-Java project, G-Creator plans to allow users to make Java games through an easy function set similar to Game Maker’s. Written in Java by TGMG and some others, it plans to support nearly every platform imaginable. Although it is not currently possible to compile a game with it, the IDE is nearly complete. It is currently at “Milestone 1”, which is a buggy demonstration of the new interface.

Screenshot of G-Creator Aurora Release

ENIGMA

Much fuss was generated on 64Digits about this project by JoshDreamland, DFortun81 and others. It has the distinction of having actually compiling a game, which, although it was non-interactive, executed at a very respectable clip. It’s development seems rather chaotic, but it currently has objects, variable classes and a GML parser. A release of some sort is expected in late March.

ENIGMA is modeled closely after GM with an almost identical Win32 interface (which will most likely be replaced with a GTK interface) and GML support. Its biggest feature is that it translates GML to C++, so it can produce compiled games and users can edit their games directly in C++. ENIGMA plans to have Linux support.

ENIGMA Game Screenshot (No interface screenshot because the current GUI uses GM’s icons, which are copyrighted.)

Azíel

Not much is known about this project by GearGod, codenamed Azíel. It will probably be XNA-based, which would make it Windows-only, unlike the other projects discussed here.

Screenshot of Azíel

Lateral Game Maker (LGM)

Although this isn’t exactly a competitor to GM, IsmAvatar and TGMG’s cross-platform IDE supports reading and writing of Game Maker’s editable files. Most of the work on this to date has been focused on the file formats, and other projects have been built largely upon IsmAvatar’s documentation of GM’s file formats. This is not the only attempt at a third-party IDE, but it is the only one with a chance of being released anytime soon.

The GUI is mostly done, the file formats are completely done, and the program is very usable (the sprite editor is the most noticeable exception). The creators “do not believe in a release date.”

Screenshot of LateralGM 1.5.7.1

Although these projects are infants compared to Game Maker, they will certainly make for an interesting year.

YYG: Explains II

Sandy Duncan, spokesperson for YoYo Games has further explained the company’s announcement earlier this week regarding decompilers and the Mac version of Game Maker.

Specifically, Sandy points out that they are taking extra care in protecting game authors from decompilers and source extractors in the future versions of Game Maker and makes special note to the fact that once the runner engine is re-written in C++, it should become much harder for hackers to find ways to extract resources from the executables.

Regarding the Game Maker for Macintosh project, nicked ‘Apple GM’, Sandy explains that the Macintosh version will be completely separate to the Windows software, and in order for your game to run on both, you’ll have to create two separate executables. However Sandy also continues by hinting toward the fact that the Instant Play feature on the YoYo Games website could be set-up to run games on both PCs and Macs, but this has yet to be confirmed at this point.

As for GM8, Sandy made it quite clear that it will NOT be released within the next 12 months, making this a good time to post an idea in the GM8 Suggestion Box

Finally, last but not least, Game Maker has decided to sell  a stake in the company to some institutional investors to help fund further development in Game Maker, and to get more staff at the help desk 🙂 . Approximately $5 M is expected to be put toward Game Maker and YoYo Games over the next couple of years.

GMC: New Staff

Smarty, a current administrator of the Game Maker Community announced the addition of two new staff members today.

Sinaz will be moderating the 3D game techniques and Expert Users forums and xot will be moderating the Advanced Users and 3D game techniques forums.

A bit of background info:

Sinaz is 30 years old, Lives in LA, his name is Jonathan and he joined the GMC in September of ’05. A few of his projects include SinazXInput, Project Dumont, Project BumbleBee, Dwarven War and Asteroids rEVOlution.

xot is from the Sunshine State (Florida) and his name is also John. He is a self-described media multi-mixer, and joined the GMC in May of ’04. You you can check out his site here.

Smarty also made a special mention to hpapillon who used to be a moderator of the forums, but resigned some time ago due to a busy schedule, leaving too little time to moderate.

Mag: MarkUp 12

The GMKing team announced a new milestone today, making them the first Game Maker magazine to mark their 1 year anniversary with a release of their 12th issue.

MarkUp is a well renowned magazine amongst the Game Maker community, known for its in depth look on everything ‘Game Maker’. From troubleshooting GM Vista errors, to reviews, previews and tutorials, this magazine is bound to have it.

Unlike Russell’s Quarterly announced earlier this week, this magazine appeals more to your visual senses and is considerably smaller in size, making it an easier read. Still, it has plenty of content to fill up 50 pages worth of quality material and can still fit in those extras like interviews with YoYo Games Winter competition winners.

Check it out here: High / Low Quality

YYG: Decompiler & GMac

Sandy Duncan, spokesperson of YoYoGames has released a statement regarding the recently developed GM Decompiler, a program which can ‘convert’ GM 5, 6 and 7 executables back into their original editable GM6/GMK files. The statement reads:

Anyone tempted to take someone else’s hard work using a “decompiler” or any other method may find that they have more than just offended the creator or that game. It’s quite possible that by copying someone else’s game that you will be breaking copyright law…and where you have denied a revenue someone the opportunity to make money…you could end up being sued.

The next major topic brought up in the blog post was the status of the ongoing project of GM for Mac OSX. According to Sandy, there is a version of GM7 for Macs that is ‘up and running,’ although reportedly still has a few bugs to iron out. A BETA release is expected sometime in March although considering what has happened in the past, we don’t suggest getting your hopes up just yet.

3 videos of GM7 on OSX were also released in the blog post:

Video 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSGd8ru-Dzs
Video 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufJZeDWH8I

tidbit: Game Maker was misspelled in YoYo Games’ official blog post.

Mag: Russell’s Quarterly

A new game magazine has popped up on the GMC today entitled Russell’s Quartely. It is quite comprehensive and includes 74 pages worth of articles, game reviews and more. Although it could be considered a little heavy on the text side, it is probably worth a read or at least a scan through.

It can be downloaded here: quarterly1.pdf

Unlike most of the other magazines that pop-up now and again on the site, this one does not specifically focus on Game Maker related content, although it does include reviews of the following Game Maker games: Hunter’s Island – The Calvalier’s Challenge (p.51), Fedora Spade (p.56), Death Worm (p.68), and Shush (p.70)

The editor, Tom Russell, does point out however that future editions are likely to include more Game Maker content and reviews can be done upon request.

tidbit: Russell joined the GMC exactly 1 year ago from today (the release date of the magazine), intentional or coincidental?